Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chapter 4: My Poor, Brainwashed Friend

I had a class with Merilie as a junior in high school. She was a very caring person and one of the nicest people you could ever know. I told her I was getting baptized as a Baptist in a few weeks. I got a note from her a few days later inviting me over to talk about "life and death matters". I wasn't sure if she had something on her mind or if she wanted to try to talk me out of getting baptized. We met at her house and the topic was religion. She asked me about my beliefs and shared some of hers. She wondered if we could meet a few times and discuss our religions.

She came to my apartment to spend the night and we talked. She said she has something for me and she gave me a paperback "Book of Mormon." She had me follow along as she read the testimony of Joseph Smith. If you would like to read this account, read to verse 26 as you link here. She cried as she read his account of his first vision. I could tell she really believed what she was reading. I thought, "My poor, brainwashed friend." I really felt sorry for her because she couldn't help believing what she did. She was born and raised LDS. She didn't know the difference. She didn't know the truth that I knew. I thought the only way you could believe such bizarre things was if you were born and raised in their church.

This is the inside cover of The Book of Mormon that she gave me. Even though I thought she was led astray, I knew she gave it to me with sincerity.
She also invited me to Temple Square in Salt Lake City. We went to the Visitor's Center and watched some movies about Joseph Smith's first vision and a couple of others. We walked by a display of Joseph Smith praying in the grove of trees. There was an elderly gentleman who was telling us about the display. He asked if we were LDS. We both answered that she is but I'm not.
He bore his testimony of Joseph Smith being a prophet and told me his wife died a few years ago. He said he knew he would be with her again when he died because they were sealed together in the temple for time and all eternity. To have a love like that appealed to me somewhat.
Another friend of mine, Julie, was telling me about temple marriage and being married for forever.
I asked, "Who would want to be married to someone forever?" I guess that could be Heaven for some people. Maybe Hell for others.
Our deep conversations about religion tapered off after a few months, since neither of us were willing to change. We remained very good friends and still keep in touch occasionally to this day. be continued.....


  1. I'm enjoying yhour new blog! Thanks for shring your story. Good luck with the surgery and I plan to see you next week for lunch and a movie.

  2. Maybe I should have hand surgery since I can't type!!!

  3. Everything you write is SO WELL DONE! Perhaps it's a genetophonicalismically correct thing. (Don't bother trying to look up the word "genetophonicalismically" inasmuch as I just invented it and have yet to send it to Websters' [Webb-stirs, not Weeb-stirs]for inclusion in the next edition of their dictonary.) Both your logs are a treat to read!

  4. This post made me laugh. I remember trying to share the gospel with friends in Junior High (and as an adult) and I often I can sense my friends' similar sentiment "she is so brainwashed." Anyway. What can you do? Its hard to get someone to understand something you have learned and read about your entire life.
    I am impressed that this friend brought up the gospel in the way that she did- right after you told her you were to be baptized.


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